What is IT Band Syndrome?
IT band syndrome refers to a medical condition where a tendon in front of the thigh down to the knee, the iliotibial (IT) band, becomes inflamed due to excess pressure and stress on the surrounding soft tissue and synovial fluid. This causes tenderness and pain in the lower leg.
How Does This Happen?
The IT band works in conjunction with the tensor fascia latae (TFL), a muscle located at the front of the hip, acting like a stretchy rubber band to help flex and retract the hip. However, when we overwork the legs, such as in running, we can inflame the soft tissues and the surrounding area.
IT band syndrome often occurs as an overuse injury where we do not engage our butt, ankle, and feet muscles properly during repetitive movements with our legs (walking, running, cycling, hiking, biking, etc.). This means that the muscles surrounding our legs have to work extra hard to stabilize us and as a result, the tendon (IT band) running along the front side of the leg becomes irritated.
Signs of IT Band Syndrome
- Irritation and inflammation around the knee
- Pain and tenderness with flexion and extension movements of the leg
- Underactive butt muscles
- Foot pronation
- Tight calves
How Do You Fix It?
To address IT band syndrome, it is important to strengthen the glutes, and release the calf muscles to stabilize the hip joint. We would recommend the following exercises:
- Release – TFL & Piriformis 60 sec each
- Activate – Glute Med/Min – Prone Hip Extension w/medial rotation 2 x 20
- Integrate – Split stance w/contralateral arm extension 2 x20
- Strengthen – Medial Hamstring Curls 2 x 20